Three ingredients for food startup success

Jun 11, 2019 | Buyers, Suppliers |

It’s a recipe for success when a small food startup can blend a great idea with the expertise of a food startup accelerator and the resources of a Fortune 500 company.

A delicious and highly collaborative case in point comes from Bennett Reck, founder of Ripe Gelato, a Washington, D.C.-based startup that produces organic, non-dairy, avocado-based gelato. Reck’s “day-job” is a researcher in the pharmaceutical industry for a venture capital firm, but his passion is really good healthy food.

Ingredient 1: A Great Idea

In the course doing research for his job, Reck says, “There are all these chronic conditions out there that affect millions that are seemingly unrelated and unpreventable. But as you do research and you dig deeper what you find is that the majority of debilitating conditions have a root cause in food and poor diet.”

Reck is passionate about good food and good health and has long tinkered with how to create great tasting healthy foods “for myself for my own health.” One of his favourite creations was an avocado-based ice cream.  Reck wondered if his innovation could be scalable. “I get a little depressed seeing how bad food habits cause so many health problems. What if I could take my idea and share it with others to help them pick a healthier alternative every time they craved ice cream?”

That was the catalyst that set Reck off on a project to launch Ripe Gelato. He spent a year studying how to make a scalable plant-based ice cream product. But his success really took off when he began working with Union Kitchen and Ingredion, companies that helped him translate ice cream fundamentals into a plant-based formula that could scale beyond his home kitchen.

Ingredient 2: A Food Accelerator

Union Kitchen is a D.C.-based food accelerator and incubator for food startups that also operates grocery stores in the D.C. area. It partners with food businesses to accelerate and help startups achieve success by “giving entrepreneurs the infrastructure, expertise, and networks they need to be successful.”